Lions player ratings as Marcus Smith impresses in huge Stormers win
STORMERS 3-49 LIONS
Several players, led by Marcus Smith, have done their Test chances no harm. Our full Lions ratings reflect a dominant victory over the Stormers in Cape Town.
The Stormers put up a real fight in the first half and went 3-0 ahead after 20 minutes. They will be frustrated, then, at conceding three tries in the last 14 minutes of the half - to Adam Beard, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jonny Hill - to trail 21-3 at the break.
The second half saw the flagging Stormers try hang on in the face of a Lions side that had their tails up. Jack Conan raced over for the fourth try and Zander Fagerson powered over the tryline with 15 minutes to go.
The Lions, inspired by Marcus Smith and Tadhg Beirne, were not finished yet. Smith put Louis Rees-Zammit away for a try while Beirne and Stuart Hogg teamed up to set up Sam Simmonds for the last score of the night.
Here's how we rated Warren Gatland's Lions:
Stuart Hogg - 7
Saved the day with one mop-up and line break but threw a forward pass out of play. Lovely hands teed up Hill for his try. Made a couple of his trademark jinking runs.
Josh Adams - 5
Lost the ball forward on one carry. Made only four carries (for 26 metres) and missed a couple of tackles. His quietest game of what has been an otherwise excellent tour.
Elliot Daly - 6
That big boot of his came in handy on a few occasions. Lovely flick pass sparked a counter that led to the Lions' first try. Teamed up with Smith to tee up Conan for his try. Fell off two of his three tackle attempts.
Robbie Henshaw - 7
Could not find Jack Conan for what would have been a try, after Price put him through a gap. Will be pleased with his outing - 26 metres made off five carries, 11 of 12 tackles stuck and a turnover won for his side.
Duhan van der Merwe - 8
Made a bullocking, 30-metre carry up the left wing, in the lead-up to that Beard try. Leg drive after being tackled, and composure, so impressive. 138 metres gained, three line breaks and nine defenders beaten. Forward pass to Hogg his only big slip.
Marcus Smith - 9
Certainly did not look out of place. Blocked an early grubber and put some air under the ball. Was rescued by Hogg when he could not hold onto one up-and-under. Linked up with Daly to set up the Conan try and unfurled some cross-kicks as the game went on. Ran a late penalty and teed up Rees-Zammit for the exclamation point.
Ali Price - 8
Pressing for Test inclusion. Well-timed pass to Beard for the Lions; first try. Timing of pass, in close, was crucial in putting teammates through gaps. Made a few snipes and stuck all his tackles.
Rory Sutherland - 6
Was getting on the wrong side of Wayne Barnes with early scrum engagements. Got the better of his opposite number, later in the first half, to win his side a penalty.
Luke Cowan-Dickie - 9
Penalised for a double movement to get over the tryline that allowed the Stormers off the hook. Snagged a great breakdown turnover, on 30 minutes. Showed real power and awareness to get over for a try after a rolling maul had punctured the hosts. Won another turnover before half-time, and a third before 45 minutes had even elapsed.
Tadhg Furlong - 8
Used for a lot of set-plays due to his passing skills and as a decoy. Made a 20-metre line break in the lead-up to the Beard try.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) July 17, 2021
Lumped into a number of big tackles around the fringes and no doubts about his scrummaging, again. Won his side a turnover and provided front-foot ball on carries.
Adam Beard - 7
Was the beneficiary from two nice breaks as he showed up on the right wing to canter over for a try. One handling error in the loose but solid enough.
Jonny Hill - 8
Made a nice lineout steal, early on. Made his presence felt in the first half and showed nice handling. Was on hand, three times, as the first man to pounce on loose balls. Excellent first half capped off with a try in the corner.
Tadhg Beirne - 9
Took a blow to the arm, after a few minutes, but played on. Was turned over on his next carry but protection was non-existent. Sweet, nonchalant offload kept attack alive before Beard's try. Made a nice break up the left flank, and offloaded again. Denied a try by the TMO, when a forward pass was spotted, earlier in the play. Made a couple if turnovers too. Showed up twice in the lead-up to Simmonds' try.
Hamish Watson - 7
Always seems to bounce off tacklers or fight for that extra yard or two. Gave the Stormers a chance to edge ahead by conceding a penalty inside his 22. Stuck 15 tackles and has developed a nice relationship with Beirne.
Jack Conan - 7
Having a fine Lions Tour. Fine support line and was rewarded with a 50th minute try. Penalised for side entry to a rolling maul, which he protested (politely).
Mako Vunipola (for Sutherland '48) - 6
Made some strong carries after coming on.
Jamie George (for Cowan-Dickie '48) - 7
Won a turnover and carried well.
Zander Fagerson (for Furlong '53) - 6
Pinged on his very first scrum. Showed strength and determination to get over for his try.
Alun Wyn Jones (for Beard '53) - 5
The fact he is back is incredible enough, three weeks after dislocating his shoulder.
Louis Rees-Zammit (for Adams '58) - 8
A handy weapon to bring off the bench. His three carries brought the Lions 69 metres in gains and a try.
Gareth Davies (for Price '58) - 6
Kept his foot to the floor in an unrelenting final 20 minutes.
Chris Harris (for Henshaw '58) - 6
Continues to impress on tour.
Sam Simmonds (for Conan '58) - 7
Raced over for a late try.